Published: Wednesday July 2, 2014 MYT 6:53:00 PM
Updated: Thursday July 3, 2014 MYT 3:56:59 PM

Selected Tour de France contenders

PARIS (Reuters) - Brief penpix of selected Tour de France contenders:

Chris Froome

* Chris Froome (Britain, Team Sky, age 29) - also known as Froomey

* Best Tour performance: 1st (2013)

* Best other Grand Tour performances: 2nd (Vuelta 2011, Tour de France 2012)

* Top performances in 2014: 1st (Tour of Oman, Tour de Romandie)

Strengths: One of the best time trialists, possibly the best climber. Backed by a strong team, his speedy accelerations often leave his rivals trailing in his wake.

Weaknesses: Perhaps his confidence has suffered from his recent under-par performances.

Alberto Contador

* Alberto Contador (Spain, Saxo Tinkoff, 31) - aka: El Pistolero

* Best Tour performance: 1st (2007, 2009)

* Best other Grand Tour performances: 1st (Vuelta 2008, 2012; Giro 2008)

* Top performances in 2014: 1st (Tirreno Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country), 2nd (Criterium du Dauphine)

Strengths: A formidable attacker, always on the offensive, a big plus in a very mountainous race. The only active rider with titles in all three grand tours. Solid team behind him. Confidence high after great season.

Weaknesses: Must do without key team mate Roman Kreuziger.

Vincenzo Nibali

* Vincenzo Nibali (Italy, Astana, 29) aka: The Shark

* Best Tour performance: 3rd (2012)

* Best other Grand Tour performances: 1st (Vuelta 2010, Giro 2013)

* Top performances in 2014: 5th (Tour de Romandie)

* Strengths: A very offensive rider, very good climber with great grand tour experience. Weaknesses: Has a tendency to attack when he should not.

Tejay van Garderen

* Tejay van Garderen (United States, BMC, 25) aka: none

* Best Tour performance: 5th (2012)

* Best other Grand Tour performance: 35th (Vuelta 2010)

* Top performances in 2014: 2nd (Tour of Oman), 3rd (Tour of the Basque Country)

*Strengths: Versatility. A decent time trialist and good climber. Has had good results this season after suffering on the Tour last year.

Weaknesses: Has never led a team on the Tour de France. Prone to occasional off-days.

Andrew Talansky

* Andrew Talansky (United States, Garmin-Sharp, 25) aka: Pit Bull

* Best Tour performance: 10th (2013)* Best other Grand Tour performance: 7th (Vuelta 2012)

* Top performance in 2014: 1st (Criterium du Dauphine)Strengths: Consistency. Managed a top-10 finish last year and seemed to get better by the day.Weaknesses: Lack of experience leading a Grand Tour team.

Thibaut Pinot

* Thibaut Pinot (France,, 24) aka: none

* Best Tour performance: 10th (2012)

* Best other Grand Tour performance: 7th (Vuelta 2013) 

* Top performance in 2014: 9th (Tour of Basque Country)

Strengths: Excellent climber. Took a stage on his Tour debut two years ago.

Weaknesses: Not a good time trialist although he has improved. Has yet to show he can handle the pressure of a big race.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Tony Jimenez)


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